MSC Certification

"The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is an independent, global, non-profit organisation with offices in the UK, Australia, Holland, Japan and now also South Africa. In a bid to reverse the continued decline in the world's fisheries, the MSC is seeking to harness consumer purchasing power to generate change and promote environmentally responsible stewardship of the world's most important renewable food source" (MSC Website, 2007.
What is the MSC Certification Program?

The MSC has developed an environmental standard for sustainable and well-managed fisheries. It uses a product label to reward environmentally responsible fishery management and practices. Consumers, concerned about overfishing and its environmental and social consequences will increasingly be able to choose seafood products that have been independently assessed against the MSC Standard and labelled to prove it. This will assure them that the product has not contributed to the environmental problem of overfishing.

Fishery Assessment:

The MSC’s Standard for determining environmentally sustainable, well-managed fisheries centers around three main principles; 1)The condition of the fish stocks. 2) The ecosystem impacts of the fishery. The effectiveness and performance of the fishery management system (in biological, environmental, socio-economic, commercial and legal contexts).The certification programme is voluntary and enables a fishery (e.g. management bodies, fishing industry associations government agencies, etc) to demonstrate that their fish products are well managed and harvested sustainably. For fish processors, traders and retailers the purchase of MSC product ensures a future for their livelihood and the industry as a whole. The use of the MSC logo on products enables consumers to purchase fish products knowing they are not contributing to overfishing of stocks or environmentally damaging practices. Eco-labelling often ensures that a product sells at a better price than its counterparts and is attractive to an ever increasing market.

Chain of Custody:

This assessment ensures that fish products authorised to carry the MSC logo originate from MSC approved fisheries only and are not mixed with or replaced by non-certified product. Chain of Custody procedures are implemented from the boat through to the wholesale dealer or retailer. Traceability is the main element of a Chain of Custody assessment, the integrity of both procedural and administrative
must be demonstrated to the Certifying Body to ensure certified products cannot be mixed with non-certified material.